I’m a burlesque performer, bellydancer, producer, stylist and maker. I make a lot of my costumes from scratch; you might take an item, say a pair of shoes, and completely reimagine them. My sitting room is my studio, so half the time everything’s covered in sequens and glitter.
I describe Dublin as a little powerful nugget of genius; there been an incredible influx of people from so many different cultures, we’re able to take those influences and put our own spin on it. It’s very important, especially in this centenary year, that people get out and engage with everything Dublin has to offer. There’s art, music, theatre, comedy, and it’s all very accessible. That’s the brilliant thing with the burlesque scene here, there’s such a diverse pool of performers from all walks of life. I’m very much about cross-pollination.
Burlesque can be a catalyst for change in someone’s life. I’ve seen that with women who maybe don’t feel very sexual, or empowered – and it can be as empowering for somebody in the audience as for those on the stage. I’m taking you on a journey, and we’re all coming out the other end together, smiling and hugging. It’s fabulous to have the opportunity to do that. I do a lot of themed shows: my Steampunk shows, Mexican Day Of The Dead shows, my new show Dark Pearl: as a producer, you’re creating a theatrical experience. There’s a musicality to an evening – a fast number, then maybe a slow one – and you always want to get all the elements right.
Burlesque can do a lot for people: it can be an awakening, an otherness that they can explore. I’ve seen it change people. For the better, I should stress (laughs). They’re like butterflies emerging from a cocoon. I’m celebrating my ninth year as a burlesque performer. I had been going to shows, and really wanted to get involved, and I got a phone call out of the blue one evening asking me to do a show. It all went from there. These days I’m a burlesque Mammy, which is a very important role to play; I get to give advice to a newer generation of performers.
I have a number of different characters, depending upon the show, each one has a different story: Dotty Potts, Go-Go The Clown, I even do the Indian Goddess Kali – it’s a beautiful performance, not a piss-take, I love India, I’ve been there many time, and studied dance there.
I also teach yoga to senior citizens. Most of them know I do cabaret – I like to throw them a Rita Hayworth or a Marilyn pose, which they love. It’s really important to keep an eye on wellness, no matter what age you are. It’s all very gentle. Some groups are more able-bodied than others, and it requires a lot of engagement. It certainly keeps my feet on the ground. I certainly don’t mollycoddle them. They’d kick my ass as much as I’d kick theirs (laughs).
I love what I do. I get to be creative, to make something from nothing, and tell a story. With burlesque, you’re always storytelling, whether that story be sad, happy, political, sexual or satirical. Sometimes a bit of everything.